ISRO’s MARS Orbiter Mission (MoM)/Mangalyaan

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ISRO’s MARS Orbiter Mission (MoM)/Mangalyaan

After successful chandrayan mission ISRO has launched most talked Mars orbiter mission. It is most low budget mission for Mars. This is so important for all upcoming exams. So I will you threw all technical and discussions related to mission. This is very important for IAS exam.

       I.            Technical specfication:

  1. Launch Date: 5th Nov, 2013
  • Ø MoM/Mangalyaan= first Indian spacecraft to cross Earth’s escape velocity of 11.2 km per second.
  • Ø Mangalyaan will travel for almost 300 days, covering 680 million kilometres, and reach Martian orbit in September 2014
  1. Launch Vehicle: generally two kind of launch vehicle are used for launching  i.e.
  • Ø PSLV(Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle): Can carry upto 600 kg Satellite
  • Ø GSLV(Geosynchronous Satellite launch Vehicle): Can carry upto 2500 kg satellite

For MoM we used PSLV-XL which having 5 stages i.e. solid –        solid-liquid-soild-liquid (it means fuel will be used in 5 stages and in solid and liquid state). Generally in PSLV we use 4 stages i.e. solid-liquid-solid-liquid.

  1. Total weight : 1377 kg
  2. Project cost: 450 crore

Mars orbital mission


II.            Mission Targets:


ISRO’s Mangalyaan wants to gather data about Mar’s SAM (Surface – Atmosphere – Minerals) using five payloads/instruments:

  1. 1.     Mars color camera:
  • Ø Mars Color camera.
  • Ø Study surface, dust storms etc.
  • Ø also taking photos of Mar’s satellites: Phobos and Deimos.


  1. 2.     Methane sensor for mars:
  • Ø To check methane prescene in Mars atmosphere which helps us to know that life existed there or not.
  1. 3.     Leyman Alpha Photometer
  • Ø It will collect sample of Mars atmosphere and will check prsence of Hydrogen and Deutrium (their ratio will tell us how water vanished from mars).


  1. 4.     Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectometer
  • Ø To study minerology on mars


  1. 5.     Mars Exospheric Netural Composition Analyser(MENCA)
  • Ø To study neutral gas atoms in the Martian atmosphere.


Do we really need Mars mission???


  1. Crores of rupee wasted- could be used to feed millions of hungry people in India. Millions of children suffering from malnutrition, half the junta doesn’t have toilets. Better get those thousands of ISRO scientists and engineers to comeup with new technology to fix malnutrition and malnutrition.
  2. ISRO’s budget is better spent to meet India’s communication needs and bring down digital divide.
  3. Even Airtel has sued ISRO for not meeting its contract obligations. So, ISRO better focus on present rather than doing some mars research whose benefits can materialize may be after 100-200 years.
  4. ISRO has installed a fancy methane detector in this spacecraft. But NASA’s curiosity rover data has already concluded that Mars environment doesn’t contain methane. Counter argument: NASA’s Curiosity rover measured presence of methane in a small area. But ISRO will scan entire Martian environment to detect Methane.
  5. GSLV testing has not giving positive result yet. Had they waited for GSLV testing to finish- Mars Mission could be done in 2016. (Even Chandrayan-2 project is stalled due to this GSLV problem). But  it seems ISRO chairman wants media publicity before retiring, so made he all the haste to launch Mars Mission in 2013 using PSLV (instead of GSLV).
  6. Less of a scientific pursuit and more of a space race with China- ‘me too’ going on Mars. First India should overtake China in terms of GDP and poverty removal.
  7. Britain, Japan, World Bank etc. reduce the donation to India thinking “since India has lot of money of run such Mars adventures, they must have money to take care of their poors as well.”


  • Ø At the core of “Anti” arguments= Ca$H that ISRO has wasted in this Mars project. But in reality it’s an investment that will be recovered within a few decades, How?
  1. Many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are seeing good economic growth. But they lack skilled manpower, technology and budget to setup their own launch vehicles and premier space agencies.
  2. But they too need satellites for communication and military. So, they outsource the satellite launch/survey work to established players.
  3. ISRO’s commercial Arm ANTRIX makes annual profit of ~100 crore rupees from such ‘outsourced’ contracts.
  4. ISRO spent only 450 crore rupees. NASA has spent billions of dollars on Mars.  This Makes ISRO world-famous as a prudent cost saving space agency= more clients via its commercial arm ANTRIX = more money incoming.
  • Ø Government spends barely ~0.35% of budget on space programs. And even out of that ~0.35% allocation, ISRO spent only 8% on Mars Missions. There are plenty of government schemes with way bigger budgetary allotments for poor people. So it’s not like government stopped/reduced expenditure on some xyz scheme for poors to fund ISRO’s Mars adventure.
  • Ø Agreed, poverty should be removed, and everyone must get food security. But the proposed food security bill will need ~1-2 lakh crores rupees every year. Even If ISRO didn’t spend 450 crores on Mars, the money thus saved- won’t make a big contribution to food security anyways.
    • Ø So far only three agencies have succeeded in Mars Mission
      • European Space Agency (ESA) of European consortium,
      • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US
      • Roscosmos of Russia
      • Ø Even USA, Japan and China failed to reach mars in their first attempt.
      • Ø So, if ISRO’s Mars mission succeeds in first attempt it’d be a milestone in the history of space explorations.

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Engineer by profession. She love to write about geography, history and current affairs.

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